September 20, 2014

I just heard kids singing at the top of their lungs and it’s already 12 midnight here. When I was their age, we would be praying as a family at around 7 in the evening, watch Popeye on Cartoon Network, and sleep at 8 sharp. I’d be crying to myself if I would be the only one awake past that, and I’d wake everyone up, and everyone would be pissed off with me at first, then my mom would pray with me to tell Jesus to help me fall asleep, then I’d be sound asleep. The only time my brother and I would stay up that late is if it were Christmas or New Year’s Eve.

But it’s 12:24 AM now and I’m wide awake from a five-hour nap which wasn’t supposed to happen. It’s exams week next week. I missed the Mass for my grandmother, who just died Monday after my dad’s funeral. Yup, this is my dad’s mom. Apparently, she was so distressed with my dad’s death, she keeps saying she should’ve gone first. It hurt her to have seen my dad suffer in the hospital in his last few days, but what’s really keeping all of us together in these trying times is our faith that they’re up there with Him, happy beyond the comforts of this world.

So, yeah. I’ve seen two people die in less than a week. We were all there around dad when he died in the hospital, and we were all here rushing to bring my grandma to the hospital when she died here at home. She was dead on arrival when they brought her.

Normally, I would philosophize and organize my thoughts about this. I always want to have some extra thoughts out of an experience. But for now, I’m just really exhausted. Dad always picks the best timing when it comes to hospital emergencies. The first two seizures he had, it was my exams week in college.

I could say, though, that this experience is entirely new to me. They were right – I have a daddy-shaped void in my heart. It’s like swimming in the ocean at night, that kind of disorienting wherein you’re trying to grasp everything you can that’s related to him, thinking somehow, that he’s alive in the things he touched – in that oxymeter he used to hold to check his oxygen every five minutes, in the pillows he spat on, in the hairs I gathered from his sheets which mom has yet to change. I miss him terribly and the only thing that saddens me is that while I live, I won’t be able to tell him I love him, I won’t be able to hug him so hard, I won’t be able to hear him say he loves it when I hug him. But I believe he is in an unimaginably better place.

So this is what dealing with death feels like

My dad just died five days ago, followed by my grandma, who couldn’t deal with it. She just passed early this morning. My heart’s never ached so much, but I can’t seem to cry anymore because I’m exhausted of tears and my heart seems to have been overworked. Speaking of work, I have a lot of catching up to do, and exams are coming up. I just hope I can still manage to bag that scholarship by the end of the year. Help me, God.

So this is what it feels like. It’s disillusioning, like swimming in the ocean in the dark. Everywhere you go, you try to find traces of him, anything that reminds you of him that will comfort you. Or so you thought, but it just ends up making you miss him more, making you lonelier. Feel more alone. Because you then start to realize you will never be able to hug him again. Touch him again. Tell him you love him. He will never be able to tell you that you’re already fat. He’ll never be able to tell you you can’t go to this party you want to go to. He’ll never tell you that it’s not okay to get sick, that you should get well soon. He’ll never be able to reassure you anymore that he’s not feeling any pain, even though he is already in a lot of pain. He’ll never be able to text you, “I love you, my bebe.”

Sadness is on my part. But I do know my dad’s beyond happy up there, which is why it inspired me, his whole story. His struggle, his battle, not just with cancer, but with his spirituality and being. It was a really good ending.

I just can’t seem to focus on any work  because he’s all I’m thinking about.

And now I’m feeling even more disillusioned because my grandma just died. What the hell is gonna happen next? Another round of a week of staying up late due to the wake. Another round of people telling you to be strong for your mom or your other family members as if they don’t care about your feelings, as if you weren’t already strong enough to last this long. Another round of listening to people talk as if they know how you feel, when the people who actually know how you feel cry with you and tell you what to anticipate because they’ve gone through the same thing.

I guess I shouldn’t complain. I should just be thankful people are there. But sometimes, people don’t help. Which is why I’m alone right now.

This song is perfect for September:

Nothing is as good as an effector as death.

I spent my whole life practically hating on my dad. I used to deny it back then because I didn’t want to acknowledge hate, but somehow, I found myself justifying it until it grew like a burden. Like the tumor that grew on his esophagus, it had a huge weight on me. He did do things that justified it, but hate can be chosen, just as love can be chosen. My mom doesn’t have any regrets, because she loved dad with her whole heart. I just wish I loved him that way, too. I wish I accepted him earlier on. I wish I tried much harder. I wish I understood why he was like that. I wish I loved him more. I wish I wasn’t so selfish. I wish I was a good Christian. After all, Jesus said that if we love only those who love us, what good is there in that?

I’m just gonna hold on to his last month, the month he transformed slowly but completely. When he finally had an open mind. Dad was never sweet – I should’ve accepted that. But he was loving. I should’ve accepted that what he was doing was for us. That he was holding, even though it already hurt him so much, for us. I should’ve known.

Please tell me angels exist. Please tell me he’s one of them now. Please tell me he can hear me. Because I’m really really sorry, dad. I love you. 

So my dad passed away four hours ago

I’ve napped but I’m not done crying. I know for those who’ve been reading my blog that for most of my life, we didn’t have a good relationship. I didn’t know it would hurt this much in the end. It hurt back when he did all those things, but it hurts more now when I think about how I could have loved him better, how I could’ve forgiven him sooner. How I could’ve cared for him more in his last few weeks. How I should’ve understood him that he wanted us all by his side, because today was drawing near. Only he could tell.

But it’s okay. It was a good ending. He went peacefully, and in God’s time. No sign of the struggle we were anticipating. He went to the Lord with all of us there, clutching his arms, saying repeatedly to him that we love him. He went with a smile.

For the past few weeks, I wasn’t able to witness most of it, but my mom tells me how much he has transformed. He’s the one who invites my mom to pray, and he tells Jesus he wishes He would give him at least three more years to live so he could make up for the times he hurt us. That was bittersweet. But if it was really God’s time for him to go, then we were okay with that.

Now I’m just sorry for spending such a long time being mad at him. For not trying hard to truly love him. But I thank God it ended pretty well.

Why I Love the Film Dorian Gray So Much

It came out in 2009, but I watched it for the first time last weekend. There was some moral-philosophical thinking to do about it, so I was surprised about how it got bad reviews, but when I read that it was because of bad acting, I didn’t care. It managed to have me pondering on it for a good week. I was itching to write this blog post for seven days now. Bonus: Ben Barnes is gorgeous, but it does have an excessive amount of horrible sex scenes.

Let’s get straight to the point here: neutrality is dangerous. Maybe neutrality is just as bad as evil. They say it’s choices that make a person (I believe it’s not entirely choices, but a huge chunk, yes, maybe), so if that’s the case, you are your yeses and your no’s. A person who is neutral does not make either choice. Does that make him less of a person?

Maybe, which is why Dorian Gray was practically just a picture. Not literally the portrait, but aestheticism is one of the most important themes of the story anyway. He was what he made himself look like, and that’s as good as a yes as you can get from him. We are finite beings, and somehow, that makes us definable. Dorian Gray was not definable, because he had a double reputation.

How was he neutral? He knew Harry Wotton was a horrible man, but he idolized him and heeded his advice. At first, Basil Hallward’s words meant something to him, but he managed to thwart Hallward’s efforts to bring back the innocence in him by literally killing him. So, good is gone, and he’s left with ‘bad.’

But is Wotton really bad, when Dorian said he lived the life Wotton wanted but never really had? Wotton was just as neutral as Dorian Gray, by projecting what he thought was best – pleasure – in the form of Dorian Gray. He lived the life he wanted but never had, through Dorian Gray, but when Wotton finally had a decent life (in the form of a daughter), he trashed Dorian away because something so evil cannot ever be desirable. Wotton never made a choice for himself, until he chose his daughter, until he said ‘no’ to Dorian Gray. Basil Hallward did not paint the picture of Dorian Gray – Dorian Gray and Henry Wotton did.

What do you think? Is neutrality evil?

Weird enough, in the end, Hallward’s words managed to echo to him, when Dorian’s at the stage of regret and almost repentance: “Pleasure is very different from happiness. Some things are precious because they don’t last.”

As a Christian, I struggled with how it ended: death is not the solution. This is where my Christian faith is relevant. I believe that death is not the end, you don’t have to literally kill yourself to redeem yourself. All you have to do is to truly ask for forgiveness – from God, from the ones you hurt – and actually change. I believe death is not justice.

This brings me to the relevance of goodness. If goodness wasn’t relevant, why would Dorian Gray feel so disgusted with himself? Why would he feel this need to change? I don’t want to attribute goodness to solely Christians, because there can be good non-Christian people, and bad Christian people. But as a Christian, I personally attribute goodness and the possibility of love and forgiveness to God.

The last point I want to make is that we are all portraits of ourselves. This one’s obvious. Assume we all have pictures like those. We try to keep painting and retouching those pictures, but as long as our true selves do not change, we will always somehow manage to stay rotten. That is, if we make the choice to barter our soul with the devil in the first place. But if we make a choice to not do it, we wouldn’t have to be wounded at all. We can stumble along the way, at most we can get scratches, but as Jesus said: “I make all things new.”

Three months in med school

and I already gained 11 pounds. I’ve been having a lot of Regina George moments recently – “It’s a [size] five,” and “My sweatpants are all that fits me right now.” To be honest, I’m even worse than Regina George on the latter. I still have these sweatpants I used to wear in college which I’d pick up whenever I feel like crap and don’t want to wear anything better (which is most of the time, which is why I wore it probably once or twice a week). I picked it up again yesterday for an event for med school (and since we wear uniforms, I haven’t noticed how much weight I gained) and guess what? It barely fit my thighs. That was eye-opener # 2 for me. Eye-opener # 1 was when I weighed myself after three months and saw 121 pounds. I’m around 5 feet so that’s not a good thing.

But what else would I expect, when I used to eat around three batches of fries a week. Don’t even get me started on milk tea. I used to think I had an excuse to treat myself every single time because, heck, I was exhausted, I was losing sleep, and my grades are not turning up. I didn’t deserve a treat, but I don’t deserve to be punished either. No sleep, more food. A 3-month long addiction on milk tea and fries? Never a good combination.

That did not work in my favor. So now, I’m cutting down to half-rice and no to minimal snacks in between. Oh, and exercise. Err. Yeah. Exercise.

Nothing too interesting is going on in class, because… that’s just it – class. Except Anatomy Lab, because we’re studying heads severed sagittally, to look at the nose, nasal sinuses, pharynx and larynx. That reminds me, I actually do have to study, but when I’m home-home (not dorm-home) on weekends, I just instantly lose motivation. Severed heads are cool on TV but in real life, not so much, especially when you realize these severed heads used to function. They used to belong to someone who ate, breathed, slept, who were fathers, who were brothers, sisters, friends.

On a lighter note, I do have a crush. Yes, even though I’m in med school, I’m haven’t been robot-ized. I’m still human. And I have the mentality of a fourteen-year-old, so yes. Forgive me. Okay, maybe not fourteen-year-old, because I don’t squeal or bite my notebook so I wouldn’t squeal anymore. But with the fanaticism? Hmm, a bit.

There is progress. Yes. We had our sportsfest this week (I’m a good movie marathoner) and I was covering a basketball game (or volleyball game, I wouldn’t remember, would I? Not when he is talking to me) for our newsletter (I join the newsletter club every school I go to) and then he walked up to me, and asked me how the game is doing. I might have stared into space for a moment there because I could not believe that he just walked up to me. I wasn’t able to anticipate it because he did it from the side, and I was watching the game… at first. I was contemplating about the truthfulness of what just happened, and if it did really happen.

It did. And what’s even more surprising is that his group of friends were on the next two bleachers, and he’d usually ditch me and go to them, which is okay, because we weren’t really that close yet. FYI, he and his group of friends were together since college, but since I went to med school friend-less, one of his friends decided to adopt me, and now they’re also my set of friends. Only, you know how it is with groups – you just get close to a handful, and some, you don’t get to bond with because you’re just too many in a group. My crush is one of the people I don’t get to talk to a lot, but I do get to know him, slowly.

I’m used to being alone, and sometimes, I like isolating myself from all the noise, which is why I was in that bleacher. But he stayed, and we talked for a bit (actually, not a bit), he played some Bejeweled on my iPad and tried to beat my level 10, he played some other games, and then he began exploring my Instagram and Tumblr accounts (the latter is semi-personal because, well, it just is). I showed him pictures of amazing fish I saw when I used to dive (moray eel and puffer fish under tablet corals) and I found out he scuba dives (while I just skin dive because scuba is expensive, and no skin dive is not skinny-dipping. Look it up). I showed him pictures I saved of cute dogs from 9gag but he’s a cat person, although he was cool with the idea of having a golden retriever, since he says he likes big dogs, too (and that was when I told him I’d like to live with a golden retriever roommate). I showed him pictures I saved of beautiful places in countryside Europe and told him I will live there when the time comes, and he told me there are much much nicer places than the ones I saved. He showed me pictures of his trip to Cape Town and Korea.

So, yeah, that happened.

Oh and another thing. The kid I’m tutoring just gave me a loom band bracelet with a letter. I’m beyond touched, I wanted to cry when she gave it. It was a change from all the busyness and crappiness of life lately. Definitely highlight of the week.

What is with this friendzone thing with guys? I just read a post about how Summer Finn from (500) Days of Summer is actually an ideal bitch – yes, she was a bitch for dragging Tom on and making him think he had a chance because of the time they spent together, but she was an ideal bitch because she said from the start that she didn’t want a boyfriend.

I believe the best thing she could’ve done from the start was to not entertain him at all, because it was obvious he was bound to fall for her, and she knew that. Now in real life, how do you actually do this? Do you stop talking to the person? How do you know it’s actually going to lead to feelings, especially at his end?

Yep, someone is Facebook-chatting me again, and I’ve been here before. Back then I thought the guy just wanted to be friends, and I did entertain him for a bit, till it got complicated and nasty. Apparently, a guy would never take the time to have considerably substantial Facebook conversations with me unless it’s kind of special. But said guys actually do not have the guts most of the time to talk to me in real life (it’s lame how effort in real life is replaced by technology; it should’t really suffice), except this latest one.

I’m afraid because if I do reject him if things got to that, I will be labeled as a friend-zoner. And guys do not like that image. Girls are made fun of in the internet for being friend-zoners. But what else should we do? Entertain all the guys who take a liking to us? Everyone? Then that makes us sluts. So if we’re not sluts, we’re friend-zoners? Everything we do, we’re considered unstable jerks who complain about everything, at the perusal of men who think ideal girls are those who give them BJ’s while playing video games with them and makes them sandwiches. I know they’re just internet jokes, but jokes are half-meant, and they are severely annoying.

I may be wrong, and I know some will argue that girls only look for guys who have Ryan Gosling’s abs, but in my case, I’m not even looking. I’m 21 and I know it’s unnatural, but I’m in med school, my dad has cancer, and life’s already a handful. I don’t need this crap. So just tell me how I’m supposed to dodge it as gracefully as I could, because I could definitely use some help.